Karzai, Panetta talk over phone on Bagaram transfer
Washington: US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta called Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai on Monday to discuss the transfer of high-profile Bagaram detention prison to the Afghan forces, a Pentagon official said.
During the call, the two leaders expressed shared commitment to the terms of the memorandum of understanding on detention operation in Afghanistan, Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little told reporters during an off camera news conference.
The official transfer of the Bagaram prison to the Afghan forces, is an "important milestone", Little said.
The US remains very committed to the transfer of the remaining detainees, he said when asked about the 50 prisoners who are still under American custody.
"The phone call did involve discussion of the issue. Secretary (Panetta) and President Karzai expressed commitment and desire to implement the terms of the agreement," he said, adding that this was the focus of the call.
"The call between Secretary Panetta and President Karzai was cordial," he said.
Following the transfer ceremony in Afghanistan, Bagaram Jail Commander Major General Ghulam Farouq Barakzai said more than 3,000 inmates had been handed over to Afghan custody over the past three months.
"We will respect the rights of prisoners according to Afghan laws and international agreements," he said, adding that the fate of the remaining 50 prisoners under US custody would be considered later.